F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / O C T O B E R 2 0 0 4
THE KREMLIN’S PICK IN THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTION WOULD BE QUITE THE OPPOSITE OF THE
RUSSIAN PEOPLE’S CHOICE.
BY DMITRY SIDOROV
F O C U S O N T H E 2 0 0 4 E L E C T I O N S
f Russians could vote in the upcoming U.S.
presidential elections, the consensus would be a strong
condemnation of both candidates but, if pushed to choose,
a stronger rejection of George Bush. This choice, in my
view, represents a rejection of the Kremlin and its pro-
Bush political preferences and, at the same time, an affir-
mation of its anti-American propaganda operation, which
dominates domestic TV and the major print media.
The majority of Russians are not actually interested in
the U.S. election results; they view the contest, at best, as
an amusing distraction from their constant struggle for sur-
vival, not as an example of how free and democratic choic-
es should be made.
Russia is not like other countries, such as India, where
the middle class eagerly awaits the results of the November
election, trying to figure out what the new or re-elected
U.S. president would do in regard to the job-outsourcing
issue. It is more like Brazil, in that the majority of its resi-
dents are more concerned with making ends meet than
with faraway elections that have no immediate or discern-
able influence on their daily struggles.
The growing anti-American sentiment in Russia is a
reflection of current U.S.-Russian relations, the decline of
the Russian role in the international arena, and the
Kremlin’s successful and widely popular nationalistic
rhetoric about Russian superiority.
A U.S.-Russian Partnership?
Official pronouncements notwithstanding, in terms of
economic ties America and Russia could be described as
distant relatives, at most. The United States’ declared
interest in Russia’s vast energy resources is not proportion-
al to the actual penetration of American business in this
field, and merely confirms the Kremlin’s assessment that
the U.S. needs Russia more t